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Government Unveils £295 Million Funding Initiative to Facilitate Weekly Food Waste Collections




The government has unveiled a substantial funding package totaling up to £295 million to facilitate the implementation of weekly food waste collections as the standard practice starting from March 31st, 2026.


This initiative aims to equip councils with necessary resources, including new household food waste containers and specialized collection vehicles. It targets local authorities who have yet to establish entirely food waste services.


Despite the growing prevalence of food waste collection across the UK, not all councils offer this service, and some only provide collections on a fortnightly basis. This has led to significant amounts of food wastage, totaling over 10 million tonnes annually, with much of it ending up in landfills, contributing to methane emissions and escalating costs. The government estimates that more than 18 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions are associated with this waste each year.


This funding is part of the government's broader Simpler Recycling plans, which seek to streamline waste and recycling collection methods nationwide. The goal is to improve recycling rates, which have plateaued in recent years. By standardizing recycling practices across England and eliminating the confusion caused by varying rules in different regions, the aim is to encourage greater participation in recycling efforts.


"Weekly food waste collections are a central plank in delivering a simpler, easier recycling system for all," said Recycling Minister Robbie Moore. "It will help to stop food waste heading to landfill and support our goals of tackling both waste and climate change. We're backing councils with new funding to ensure the nation can benefit and recycle more."


Claire Shrewsbury, director of insights and innovations at waste charity WRAP, said weekly food waste collections would give recycling in England "an important boost and help reduce the impact of food waste on climate change."


"Our research shows that when food waste collections are introduced, and people see how much food goes to waste in their home, they want to do something about it," she said. "And with food waste costing a household of four around £1,000 a year, weekly collections will not only help prevent food waste in the first place, but utilise the food waste collected to generate green energy and compost."


Defra has collaborated with WRAP to develop the funding formula for the £295 million allocation, considering factors such as rurality, deprivation levels, property types, waste yields, and each local authority's existing collection infrastructure.


This announcement coincides with a recent call from a coalition of leading businesses urging the government to mandate food waste reporting for food retailers. Andrew Opie, director of food and sustainability at the British Retail Consortium, emphasized the importance of mandatory reporting in addressing the UK's food waste crisis and helping retailers identify areas for improvement and surplus food redistribution.

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